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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Ex. 4-6 (confluence)

Exodus 4-6 has important stuff for people of faith.  Moses, who is a murderer and fugitive, doesn't want to help, but God's compels him to do so.  Nonetheless, God relents and lets, actually suggests, Aaron to be Moses' mouthpiece.  And, when they start their efforts to work for freedom for the people, things get worse at first when those in power demand more from the people while taking away their ability to do the work demanded and call them lazy for failing.  As they say, "That will preach."

This is also, however, a passage that demonstrates remarkably well that the books of the Bible themselves are a confluence of conflicting traditions.  Beside God's capricious choice to "harden [Pharaoh's] heart so that he will not let the people go," Ex. 4:21, we have this inexplicable passage that follows God commissioning Moses from the burning bush, giving him three signs to show he is the messenger of God, and suggesting brother Aaron help him:

At a lodging place on the way, the Lord met Moses[a] and was about to kill him. 25 But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it.[b] “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me,” she said. So the Lord let him alone. (At that time she said “bridegroom of blood,” referring to circumcision.)
Ex. 4:24-26.  I'm not going to pretend to understand this passage.  It's obviously a vision of God that is very different from the Todopederoso/Almighty we've been hearing from for some time.  Much more like the God who walks in the Garden of Eden and from whom people can hide, or the God who wrestles with Jacob.

And lest you think I'm making up the evolution of God.  Check out this passage:

God also said to Moses, “I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty,[a] but by my name the Lord[b] I did not make myself fully known to them. I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they resided as foreigners. Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant.

Ex. 6:2-5.  The notes are important.  "Lord" means YHWH, which sounds like "I am."  God Almighty is a translation as El-Shaddai.  This passage makes it clear that these were not always names from the same people.

POINT:  We have an evolution of who God is well documented in Scripture.  God has a court with sons of God that impregnate women.  Then we sort of drop that and go to monotheism.  And along the way we make sure we pick up the traditions of several like minded peoples.  That doesn't mean God isn't real.  It means human understanding of God evolved while they were writing the works collected in the Bible and it is okay that they are still evolving.



1 comment:

Matt Dick said...

That doesn't mean God isn't real.

No, but it casts into sure doubt that anyone who claims to understand or even assert his existence cannot be believed.

Is it an evolved "understanding of God" or an evolved explanation of how I feel about the mysteries of the cosmos?